As a fitness professional, did you start this year with a bang or a whimper? Did you think to yourself, this year I will make a difference no matter how great or small, or did you think, haaaa another year of the same?
At the 22 year mark, I often wonder, why does someone choose to enter the world of fitness and then why do so many people leave? Here are my top 6 tips of how to stay in the game and never lose sight of why you started in the first place:
1. Never forget what it is like to be ‘your first time’ in a class, at the gym, or starting a program. This is gold, because it reminds me of the challenges and the importance of a smile, an encouraging word or even a touch on the shoulder. All these little things are forms of encouragement that people so rarely receive in their lives
2. Define ‘making a difference’ and avoid giving lip service to this popular cliché. How DO YOU make a difference? It is a verb, it needs to actioned and it needs to be real. The thought is nice, but the action delivers.
3. Avoid being all things to everyone. You can’t, and in fact, you might even lose yourself. I found that there were certain classes that when I taught them, I cringed at myself. I sounded so fake and was ‘not really there’, which brings me to point 4.
4. Only do things that you are passionate about – ha, another cliché that you have to define. I love freestyle, the ability to create and deliver in my own way. I love teaching adults, kids are fun, but it’s not really where I am at. I enjoy tough workouts that have choreography, so bootcamp will never really appeal to me. There are so many instructors who love all those other programs, so there is plenty to go around, without me trying to teach everything.
5. Connect with peers. Oh the joy of being able to unload, debrief or simply cry when members, clients, managers or other staff get to you. Often our friends and family have no concept of the embarrassment of forgetting your choreography or annoying a client. They think – just get over it, but when you are REALLY trying to make a difference, you can’t. I am so fortunate to have a great group of trusted friends who are also my fitness peers that I can turn to and ask, am I losing my mind and then be given the reassurance, it does happen to everyone.
6. Mentor – it is your responsibility. I know what you might be thinking, why on earth would you want to do that!!! How is that your responsibility, it belongs to the ‘industry’. Well, my friends, mentoring is the most interesting way to learn about YOURSELF. Teaching someone else a skill is discovering about how well you can really teach your members and clients. It is a selfless act to ensure that this industry maintains a high level of professionalism and it is also necessary for you to stay in the game. Mentoring reminds you again and again, why you started in the first place as you see new recruits come in with a similar desire. I want to say a thank you to all the instructors and trainers who currently do mentor others. You play a most important role, not only for the fitness industry, but also for the individual that has had the amazing opportunity to work with you.
This brings me back to point 1, never forget as you are always reminded when you mentor.
May 2012 be the year that you rise, shine, make a difference and truly discover your passion.